Author Topic: Digital media receivers  (Read 1714 times)

tripower

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Digital media receivers
« on: October 07, 2008, 02:37:36 am »
I want to be able to pull movies from the linuxMCE to any one of my TV's. My understanding is that I might be able to do this via a DMR. What DMRs (digital media receiver) will work with linuxMCE?
And how would I set this up?

colinjones

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Re: Digital media receivers
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2008, 03:03:01 am »
I don't understand your question - you are aware that LMCE is designed to do just that? The "core" is the master system that controls your entire house. You can then add as many LMCE Media Directors as you wish for each Entertainment area. But these are all LMCE, you don't need another product, just LMCE. The Media Directors are just LMCE in "slave" mode, if you want to think of it that way.

tschak909

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Re: Digital media receivers
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2008, 03:19:57 am »
as per colinjones' reply, we have an extensive system where you can simply drop diskless PCs wherever there is a TV. What I recommend is the following setup:

* MSI Media Live
* USB UIRT for A/V control
* Xantech 286 double emitter to control TV and one other device such as an amplifier.

Use a tablet, PDA, Nokia 770 etc, as an Orbiter, that you can move from room to room to control the different devices, and you can have as many orbiters and remote controls as needed for the system.

The MSI media live just needs a CPU and some RAM. A hard drive is not required.

As per the system design, you can attach peripherals to any media director or the core, and it will replicate house-wide.

Even though we do support both UPNP clients, media storage, and players, we do not recommend them, because they do not expose functionality of the entire house.

Many people honestly have a difficult time understanding the sheer scope of the system, because quite frankly, nothing else has existed like it before, so it can take a bit of time to wrap it all around your head. :)

That's okay, that's why we're here.

-Thom

tripower

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Re: Digital media receivers
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2008, 11:06:41 pm »
as per colinjones' reply, we have an extensive system where you can simply drop diskless PCs wherever there is a TV. What I recommend is the following setup:

* MSI Media Live
* USB UIRT for A/V control
* Xantech 286 double emitter to control TV and one other device such as an amplifier.

Use a tablet, PDA, Nokia 770 etc, as an Orbiter, that you can move from room to room to control the different devices, and you can have as many orbiters and remote controls as needed for the system.

The MSI media live just needs a CPU and some RAM. A hard drive is not required.

As per the system design, you can attach peripherals to any media director or the core, and it will replicate house-wide.

Even though we do support both UPNP clients, media storage, and players, we do not recommend them, because they do not expose functionality of the entire house.

Many people honestly have a difficult time understanding the sheer scope of the system, because quite frankly, nothing else has existed like it before, so it can take a bit of time to wrap it all around your head. :)

That's okay, that's why we're here.

-Thom

What is the MSI Media Live device the slave or can I build my own?
http://www.msicomputer.com/product/p_spec.asp?model=Media_Live

Also are there other units, maybe that are less expensive?
« Last Edit: October 07, 2008, 11:13:59 pm by tripower »

colinjones

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Re: Digital media receivers
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2008, 12:31:58 am »
Its an example of a typical "barebones" system (ie PC minus CPU, RAM, HDD) that is designed for Home Theatre PC use - basically it looks like a HiFi component. You can use it as either a Core, Hybrid or Media Director depending on what CPU, RAM and HDD you get for it.

A Core is the central "master" for an LMCE network that controls the network and can be headless (no screen) if you wish and placed out of the way in a cupboard or somewhere.
A Media Director is a "slave" to the Core, and is used to provide AV media to a display and audio system (hom theatre, stereo, amp, whatever) - you place as many of these as you like around the house, wherever you have AV equipment and would like to be able to access your LMCE media from.
A Hybrid is a Core with a Media Director on it as well - this way you can have a standalone LMCE system consisting of a single PC. Although many people use a Hybrid, plus Media Directors so that they do not "waste" a PC just for the Core as it can play media as well as the simple Media Directors.

Yes, you can build whatever you want, but be aware that if you do not choose recommended hardware (or at least known good chipsets) you will likely come across compatibility issues. Best to search the forums and wiki for advice on the best hardware - eg nVidia 6xxx and 7xxx chipsets are the best for video.

There are several motherboards and barebones systems coming out at the moment that are very cost effective, and people are looking into the compatibility of ones from Asus and MSI at the moment.

tripower

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Re: Digital media receivers
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2008, 01:09:27 am »
Its an example of a typical "barebones" system (ie PC minus CPU, RAM, HDD) that is designed for Home Theatre PC use - basically it looks like a HiFi component. You can use it as either a Core, Hybrid or Media Director depending on what CPU, RAM and HDD you get for it.

A Core is the central "master" for an LMCE network that controls the network and can be headless (no screen) if you wish and placed out of the way in a cupboard or somewhere.
A Media Director is a "slave" to the Core, and is used to provide AV media to a display and audio system (hom theatre, stereo, amp, whatever) - you place as many of these as you like around the house, wherever you have AV equipment and would like to be able to access your LMCE media from.
A Hybrid is a Core with a Media Director on it as well - this way you can have a standalone LMCE system consisting of a single PC. Although many people use a Hybrid, plus Media Directors so that they do not "waste" a PC just for the Core as it can play media as well as the simple Media Directors.

Yes, you can build whatever you want, but be aware that if you do not choose recommended hardware (or at least known good chipsets) you will likely come across compatibility issues. Best to search the forums and wiki for advice on the best hardware - eg nVidia 6xxx and 7xxx chipsets are the best for video.

There are several motherboards and barebones systems coming out at the moment that are very cost effective, and people are looking into the compatibility of ones from Asus and MSI at the moment.

I hear what you are saying. So how do you get the slaves to boot off of the MCE Core? Just go to the bios of each slave unit and select boot from LAN?

colinjones

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Re: Digital media receivers
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2008, 01:23:13 am »
That's basically the short version, yes. You must have a Core that has 2 NICs, and then the Core acts as a router between your existing home network and the new "internal" LMCE network.

All equipment that will interact with LMCE needs to be on the internal network - Media Directors, Home Automation equipment, Phones, media sources (PCs, NAS's, etc) using DHCP to get IP addresses from the Core. The recommendation would be simply to move everything you currently have to the internal network, and plug the Core's "external" NIC directly into your broadband router. They will all behave in exactly the same way, so its pretty much transparent.

If you are using Media Directors, then a Gig switch and NICs are recommended just to speed up the boot times, etc, but isn't essential. Then, as you say, put the Media Director's BIOS in to boot from LAN mode (its actually called PXE boot, but often BIOS's describe it as other things) and reboot the machine. It will then find the Core, and have a boot file delivered which will go through the process of creating a boot image of LMCE that sits on the Core's hard drive. After a while it will complete building this image and instruct the new Media Director to reboot. This time the Core will serve up the pre-build LMCE image to the Media Director to boot from... voila

tripower

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Re: Digital media receivers
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2008, 01:37:24 am »
That's basically the short version, yes. You must have a Core that has 2 NICs, and then the Core acts as a router between your existing home network and the new "internal" LMCE network.

All equipment that will interact with LMCE needs to be on the internal network - Media Directors, Home Automation equipment, Phones, media sources (PCs, NAS's, etc) using DHCP to get IP addresses from the Core. The recommendation would be simply to move everything you currently have to the internal network, and plug the Core's "external" NIC directly into your broadband router. They will all behave in exactly the same way, so its pretty much transparent.

If you are using Media Directors, then a Gig switch and NICs are recommended just to speed up the boot times, etc, but isn't essential. Then, as you say, put the Media Director's BIOS in to boot from LAN mode (its actually called PXE boot, but often BIOS's describe it as other things) and reboot the machine. It will then find the Core, and have a boot file delivered which will go through the process of creating a boot image of LMCE that sits on the Core's hard drive. After a while it will complete building this image and instruct the new Media Director to reboot. This time the Core will serve up the pre-build LMCE image to the Media Director to boot from... voila

So it will just hunt down the Core on the network even though it is a barebone box with no HD, correct?
What about DVR functionality storage, etc, that can stay on the Core no need to have a local HD for speed?

Oh, and why do I need 2 NICs?

LegoGT

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Re: Digital media receivers
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2008, 01:50:30 am »
Oh, and why do I need 2 NICs?

I tried testing and running the system with only one NIC and even though I was able to get it to work (installed with router providing DHCP, set static IPs, tweaked LMCE's network settings, etc.) it wasn't worth all the effort and gave me many sleepless nights.

At the very least (and if you run out of PCI slots) you should get something simple like the Linksys USB200M and use that for your connection to the Interweb. LMCE likes to have control of its subnet for better support of PNP and diskless Media Directors so I'd dedicate your GigE port for that.

So, even though it's possible, you should avoid it if you can and just buy a MB with 2 NICs.
A brain dump of my neverending projects: http://MediumRareBrain.com

tripower

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Re: Digital media receivers
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2008, 01:56:12 am »
Oh, and why do I need 2 NICs?

I tried testing and running the system with only one NIC and even though I was able to get it to work (installed with router providing DHCP, set static IPs, tweaked LMCE's network settings, etc.) it wasn't worth all the effort and gave me many sleepless nights.

At the very least (and if you run out of PCI slots) you should get something simple like the Linksys USB200M and use that for your connection to the Interweb. LMCE likes to have control of its subnet for better support of PNP and diskless Media Directors so I'd dedicate your GigE port for that.

So, even though it's possible, you should avoid it if you can and just buy a MB with 2 NICs.

So, if I am understand you one NIC is for communication with the server and the other is for streaming media?

LegoGT

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Re: Digital media receivers
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2008, 02:28:25 am »
Oh, and why do I need 2 NICs?

I tried testing and running the system with only one NIC and even though I was able to get it to work (installed with router providing DHCP, set static IPs, tweaked LMCE's network settings, etc.) it wasn't worth all the effort and gave me many sleepless nights.

At the very least (and if you run out of PCI slots) you should get something simple like the Linksys USB200M and use that for your connection to the Interweb. LMCE likes to have control of its subnet for better support of PNP and diskless Media Directors so I'd dedicate your GigE port for that.

So, even though it's possible, you should avoid it if you can and just buy a MB with 2 NICs.

So, if I am understand you one NIC is for communication with the server and the other is for streaming media?

I started writing out an explanation but then remembered there was a diagram on the Wiki that makes tons more sense: http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Image:Diagram1.jpg

You only need to worry about the Core having 2 NICs. Every other device will see the Core as the DHCP server and get an IP from it (using its single NIC). The Core will stay on all the time and as new resources pop onto the network it will try and make them available to every other device. It's very transparent so that all drives on the network will be visible as if you just streamed it locally or from the Core.

As an example, you might have an XP laptop (with MP3 files shared) that you connect to the LMCE wireless network. After the laptop gets its IP from the Core, LMCE will then notice the new shares and ask you if you want to use them on the network. Automagically, you should then be able to listen to those files from any other Media Director even though it's coming from a non-LMCE source.

I, personally, have 2 full separate networks in my home: one for LMCE and the other for my other testing and development. LMCE is actually a subnet beneath my main network and the external NIC is connected to the Internet through my main network. I did it this way so that I could tear down and rebuild LMCE at will and not destroy everything else. I also have a homebuilt NAS with 2 NICs that spans both networks so I can access my files/web/ftp servers regardless of which network I'm on (and the current state of my LMCE setup  ;D).
A brain dump of my neverending projects: http://MediumRareBrain.com

colinjones

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Re: Digital media receivers
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2008, 02:29:08 am »
Not really. You are basically setting up a second subnet in your home:

For instance...

ADSL line ---> ADSL Router ----> (external NIC) LMCE Core (internal NIC) ----> Gb Switch ----> multiple devices (PCs, MDs, NASs, HA, VoIP telephones)

The Core sits inline between your broadband modem and your network so that 1) all traffic passes through it to the internal network and 2) so that the Core can provide critical services and control the internal network (such as PnP, like LegoGT mentioned)

It is essential for devices that want to interact with LMCE, and irrelevant to devices that don't, they are just on another subnet like any other.

For the sake of a $15 NIC, just build it the way it is designed. Although possible to re-engineer, it requires a lot of advanced networking and computing knowledge, time, headaches, instability and loss of features.

(BTW, I said it is a second network, ie the bit to the right of the Core in my diagram above. For clarity the "first" subnet is the bit between ADSL Router and (external NIC), this is your existing network, I didn't put anything on that network in the diagram because you can move it all to the second network. So the first network, your existing one, becomes simply a patch cable, nothing more. But as LegoGT says you can put things there if you want. Its just better if they are moved so they become available to LMCE)
« Last Edit: October 08, 2008, 02:34:13 am by colinjones »

tschak909

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Re: Digital media receivers
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2008, 05:47:25 am »
This system is designed to become the central server for your house.

it provides

* centralized file server and media storage
* network gateway and firewall
* voip services via asterisk
* home automation and media routing for all devices in the house
and more.

It works best if your other computers are on the same network, that way LMCE can spider them for media, and you can easily transfer files to it, among other things.

-Thom